Do you ever feel like you’ve been trying your heart out to lose weight but you’re disappointed when the numbers on the scale don’t reflect your efforts? The good news is we can help you identify where your goals have been sabotaged and arm you to conquer your weight-loss enemies.
Here’s 7 weight loss saboteurs with some associated solutions to help you conquer them, so you get the results you want.
1. Weight loss Enemy: Lack of Water
Water is a shifty character when it comes to your body. You lose it in sweat, bodily waste and during many cellular functions. Because water accounts for approximately 60% of your body weight, your hydration levels can give you a false sense of weight loss as your hydration levels change. More importantly, lacking water or being slightly dehydrated often tricks you into mistaking hunger for thirst, so you reach for a snack when it really isn’t required. And this can get in the way of you maintaining your weight loss.
=> Solution: Conquer hunger by drinking more water
It sounds simple – drink more water! Apart from the myriad of health benefits that a plentiful supply of water creates in your body, it also physically fills you up. In a 12 week study published in the journal Obesity in 2010, researchers found that people who drank 500ml of water half an hour prior to each daily, low-calorie meal had 2kg weight loss greater than those who didn’t. They also showed a 44% greater decrease in weight over the study. If you struggle to drink enough water, try adding some cucumber, mint leaves and lime to give some extra tasty zing!
2. Weight loss Enemy: Time management
If you are using time as an excuse for skipping meals or reaching for pre-packaged snacks that appear healthy (note: many low-fat products such as yoghurts and breakfast bars have largely increased amounts of sugar), then you are spending your time un-doing your healthy diet changes instead of investing in a quality lifestyle.
=> Solution: Conquer time-poor excuses by getting up earlier
Provided you are getting adequate sleep, set your alarm half an hour earlier and really make time to have a balanced breakfast. It is your most important meal of the day. You can’t create time, but you can utilise your time by prepping your meals or getting up earlier.
3. Weight loss Enemy: No support
An Australian study by the CSIRO, found up to 40% of dieters had no support for their weight loss journey which directly contributed to both failure of reaching dietary goals and the maintenance of weight loss. In addition, family and friends can unknowingly be acting as double agents when it comes to conquering your bad habits and living a healthy lifestyle. You may find those closest to you are threatened, jealous, rejected or frightened of the outcome this healthy change has on you and your relationship with them.
=> Solution: Conquer saboteurs with friends
Find a buddy to help keep you motivated and accountable for sticking with a healthy lifestyle. This is such an important and often over-looked factor in your success. Signing up for a program like Active8me gives you instantaneous motivation and support at your fingertips, so doing it with a friend can double the benefits of a strong support system. You can defend yourself against the well-meaning loved ones by making your goals and intentions clear and asking for their support. Or even better, involve them in your journey and/or do it together.
Get a friend or group of friends and sign up to Active8me today to support, encourage and challenge each other in the healthy lifestyle journey.
4. Weight loss Enemy: Eating out
This is a tough battle to fight. It is probably part of your daily routine to share meals with friends, family and colleagues. While you are trying your best to make good food choices, deep down you know the Hawker centres are not exactly helping with your weight loss goals – especially when your senses are heightened by the tempting spicy aromas. We understand that eating out is part of enjoying life with friends and part of the culture. We also believe you shouldn’t have to neglect yourself of company to achieve a good nutritional balance. But, eating out doesn’t mean you can’t make healthy choices.
=> Solution: Conquer overeating with sensible choices and portion control
As you learn to make better food choices you can incorporate other strategies to ensure eating out doesn’t cause a body blow out! Simply order a smaller sized meal, choose steamed or grilled meals over fried food, eat slowly and savour the flavour, chew and swallow completely before your next mouthful, and aim for reasonable proportions, as shown here in our free “Cheat sheet for Calorie Counting”. Here’s a snippet from one of the nutrition education videos that we have in the app to help educate you so you can make great eating out decisions.
5. Weight loss Enemy: Sluggish metabolism
You know you’ve been working hard but it’s like your body isn’t keeping up with the idea of that new lean, toned and energised figure that you imagined. Have a think – is a lack of sleep or stress impacting you? As they are important factors in slowing your metabolism. Apart from making you feel grumpy, lack of sleep interferes with the hormones responsible for hunger and satiety (feeling full). Lack of sleep increases Ghrelin which tells your body to eat, and decreases Leptin which instructs you to stop eating. Stress can be a product of, or directly related to, lack of sleep. During times of stress, you release the hormone Cortisol, which slows your metabolism and causes your body to retain fat, leading to slowed weight loss. It’s a lose-lose situation that continues in a vicious cycle, impacting your healthy progress.
=> Solution: Conquer a sluggish metabolism with sleep, discipline and less stress
Just like healthy eating and regular exercise, getting sufficient sleep and calming your mind from stress takes discipline. Researchers suggest the optimal amount of sleep to aim for is 7.5 hours per night. Try cutting out any caffeinated drinks, such as soda, coffee and some teas from your diet after 3pm, replacing with warm lemon water, camomile tea or warm milk. Not only do these drinks promote sleep, they will be better calorie replacements than sugary beverages. Put your phone or tablet away at least half an hour before bed time to give your brain some stimulation-free time and finally, follow a bed time routine. Preferably, get ready for bed by following the same steps, at the same time each evening. This way, you are subconsciously training your body to understand it’s time to sleep. Regular, sufficient sleep will see your hormone levels regulate and your metabolism improve where you reap the rewards of feeling energised rather than lethargic! Also, here’s a snippet from one of our weekly My Mindset lessons on “The Doors to Less Stress”. Weight loss, metabolism, sleep and stress are all related.
6. Weight loss Enemy: Cravings
You know that evil feeling of wanting sugar, sugar and more sugar! There always seems to be an excuse to satisfy your sweet craving … happiness, heartbreak, boredom, stress, reward, it’s ‘that time of the month’ and so on. And, what’s worse, it seems that no amount of logical reasoning seems to eliminate your desire for a sugar or a salty fix. Your body has cravings for numerous reasons, it may be time or routine patterns where you associate certain foods (hmmm, that mid-afternoon sugary/ fatty pick-me-up), emotional connections to food or simply your body telling you it needs a certain type of fuel. Whatever the reason sugar is a big deal and it is definitely one of your weight loss saboteurs. However, whilst your cravings may not miraculously disappear, you don’t need to be held captive by them and undo some of your weight loss success.
=> Solution: Conquer your cravings with distraction and snack alternatives
Use your powerful mind for good rather than evil. You do have the power to redirect your mind to other things. And more practically, prepare for these moments that you know will inevitably come. Equip yourself with better food ‘weapons’ to fight the cravings. Think about what exactly you crave (sweet, salty, fatty or a combination) and ensure you have snack alternatives or replacements readily available. (Get your free guide to “Clean Eating Food Swaps” here). Instead of a donut reach for a handful of nuts or some juicy pineapple segments. You can nourish your body and distract your mind with food that looks appealing, but has much better nutritional value.
7. Weight loss Enemy: YOURSELF
Sometimes you can be your own worst enemy: fear of failure, lack will power, over-estimating your activity, under-estimating your calorie intake and many more self-imposed ideals can lead to sneaky weight gain. We are all human and it takes time, effort and persistence to change habits that you have accrued over your lifetime. Yes, there will be times when you take a sideways step in your approach to healthy living, however recognising how you are self-sabotaging your best intentions is half the battle.
=> Solution: Conquer your doubts by knowing your demons
Make note of situations, people or events that are a catalyst for your downfalls. You could do this by writing them down in a journal or as a memo on your phone. Recognise where your thoughts are at and then feed your mindset positive, empowering thoughts about what you CAN do and what you WILL do. Positive self-talk is much more powerful than many people realise. Don’t punish yourself. Accept that you are human and just step back onto the right track instead of sliding down the slippery slope of weight gain.
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